IN the absence of a credible opposition at Stormont, MLAs of all shades have been looking for something to get well and truly het up about. Preferably something monolithic, caricatured as faceless and the ‘common man and woman’ as victims.
What better target than… the health service!
Asides from the occasional tragedy and stupid political decision, the health service has committed some really damnable crimes against Norn Iron’s population! They’ve been forcing people to live longer through dramatic surgical interventions, through life-saving drug treatments and even, heaven help us, highly skilled doctors, nurses and other staff performing feats to make sure we live well into our twilight years.
No wonder we need an Older Person’s Commissioner - there’s tens of thousands of old people cluttering up the streets, bullying their way on to buses and joining the queue for a wee message to acknowledge they’ve reached treble figures in terms of age.
So politicians, as is their normal practice, have picked up on some failings to launch attack after attack on the health service. Yes, the failings at one A&E department out of several were awful and the conditions there made battlefield surgery look calm, but the picture isn’t all bleak.
Instead, the politicians should be launching a concerted attack on the general public!
Stupid people are having the audacity to eat healthier, moderate their alcohol intake, stop smoking, take regular exercise…where will this madness end?!
Do these people not realise that all this means you’ll be hanging around for years, upon years, upon years for a place on the surgery list after pulling a muscle doing Pilates?
Politicians! Act now!
Encourage smoking, force feed booze to teenagers, tell single mothers where their nearest drug dealer is, close leisure centres, ban fitness classes and make an Ulster Fry compulsory three days a week.
That way you can slash waiting times for older people within a few short years, and all the regressive taxes from booze and cigarettes can roll into coffers…
Seriously, well we weren’t being that serious earlier. The threats from Health Minister Edwin Poots to cut a swathe through management, investigations after investigations roll on and on.
Yes, such investigations are required, but more importantly the Compton Review has put forward a path for Norn Iron’s health service. That path may be right or wrong, but the MLAs who occasionally turn up to vote in Parliament Buildings need to realise that they must evolve beyond village pump politics and understand that we are a relatively small geographical area and as such we cannot expect a gold-plated regional standard health service. The target can only be ‘best possible’.
And stop getting old!